Inexpensive RFID tags may be seeing more use in the consumer world, thanks to printable electronic polymers. Available at 1 cent each, the tags can be used to monitor stock and reportedly may reduce inventory costs by up to 10% and staff costs by 20%. Flexible polymer circuits would allow tags to be printed directly onto, or into, low-cost packages during manufacturing. Wal-Mart has already requested its top 100 suppliers to use RFID tags by 2005.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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